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J Clin Oncol. 1999 Oct;17(10):3128-35.

Outcome in patients with myelodysplastic syndrome after autologous bone marrow transplantation for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

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  • 1Division of Adult Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA 02115, USA.



The absolute risk of myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) after autologous bone marrow transplant (ABMT) for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) exceeds 5% in several reported series. We report the outcome of a large cohort of patients who developed MDS after ABMT for NHL.


Between December 1982 and December 1997, 552 patients underwent ABMT for NHL, with a uniform ablative regimen of cyclophosphamide and total body irradiation followed by reinfusion of obtained marrow purged with monoclonal antibodies. MDS was strictly defined, using the French-American-British classification system, as requiring bone marrow dysplasia in at least two cell lines, with associated unexplained persistent cytopenias.


Forty-one patients developed MDS at a median of 47 months after ABMT. The incidence of MDS was 7.4%, and actuarial incidence at 10 years is 19.8%, without evidence of a plateau. Patients who developed MDS received significantly fewer numbers of cells reinfused per kilogram at ABMT (P =.0003). Karyotypes were performed on bone marrow samples of 33 patients, and 29 patients had either del(7) or complex abnormalities. The median survival from diagnosis of MDS was 9.4 months. The International Prognostic Scoring System for MDS failed to predict outcome in these patients. Thirteen patients underwent allogeneic BMT as treatment for MDS, and all have died of BMT-related complications (11 patients) or relapse (two patients), with a median survival of only 1.8 months.


Long-term follow-up demonstrates a high incidence of MDS after ABMT for NHL. The prognosis for these patients is uniformly poor, and novel treatment strategies are needed for this fatal disorder.

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